Time needed: 30 minutes.
You can make a will online, go to a solicitor, or make your own will. Making a will online is convenient, inexpensive, and safe: but make sure you use a reputable company which is a member of a recognised professional will-writing body. Solicitor drafted wills are expensive (rarely less than £150) but a sensible option if you have a large or complicated estate. DIY wills that you purchase at a stationers are risky and often lead to £000s being spent on disputes in court.
- Choose a company you trust to make a will online
If you are not sure about anything – contact them. If there is no email or contact details, or just an automated chat-bot: then alarms should ring. Check their insurance and professional membership. This should be on their homepage. They should be regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority, Institute of Will Writers or the Society of Will Writers. Make sure that a professional, qualified human being will check over your will.
- Start the will writing process
A good will writing website will let you enter all of your details and check-out at the end of an un-complicated questionnaire. Some sites are set up to gather information on you, and the site then sells your data onto another will writer or solicitor. If you get to the end of the questionnaire and get told you’ll get a call back, this should ring alarm bells. They don’t need your phone number or date of birth so don’t give this information.
- Set out your wishes
The website should ask who you want to inherit the bulk of your estate, and any specific gifts, who you want to look after any parentless children, and any funeral wishes. It should also ask who you want to look after your wishes in the will (your “executor”). They should NOT force you appoint their company as an executor. If this happens, just leave the website and ignore all future communication.
- Pay for the will online
You should be able to get the will immediately. Beware of extra steps (like a call-back or any delays). Make sure that the pricing is clear, and don’t be pressured into buying additional services/ insurance/ subscriptions. Some providers offer to print and send your will which is useful if you don’t have a printer: but don’t feel obliged. Subscription for future updates can be useful but the service should be “opt-in”.
- Print, sign, witness and store your will
You need two unrelated, adult witnesses (who are not inheriting anything). They should sign the will and enter their addresses. They both need to see you and see each other sign the will. Finally: store the will somewhere safe and tell the executors. Some providers offer secure storage. Ensure pricing is transparent (usually £25-£35 per year) and you can access the will for free in future.
There you have it: when you make a will online you can buy your will for less than the cost of a weekly shop, and in a fraction of the time!